I want to use these two boards and this xbee to communicate wirelessly. But before I dropped the cash I wanted to get some opinions on if this will all work together.
Should work. I have basically this setup. But rather than the xbee explorer and a mini I used a regular arduino and an xbee shield.
If you want just two XBees talking to each other, the Series 1 radios are MUCH easier to configure and get communicating. And, they are cheaper, too.
I've just gone through what you're trying to do. I found this short tutorial covers it all:
That tutorial talks about how to program the series 2/2.5 radios in 28 easy steps. The series 1 guide would have about 10 steps.
As long as you pick the same Series of radios you shouldn't have a problem. I have only worked with the Series I and they are extremely simple to setup. Literally five minutes.
If you decide you want to use an Arduino and an XBee you could checkout my boards at http://wiblocks.luciani.org/ZB1/index.html I have a couple of software examples on the website and some XBee setup application hints in the datasheet.
(* jcl *)